DNA methylation in the tumor microenvironment

Meng wen Zhang, Kenji Fujiwara, Xu Che, Shu Zheng, Lei Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays an important role in supporting cancer progression. The TME is composed of tumor cells, the surrounding tumor-associated stromal cells, and the extracellular matrix (ECM). Crosstalk between the TME components contributes to tumorigenesis. Recently, one of our studies showed that pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells can induce DNA methylation in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), thereby modifying tumor-stromal interactions in the TME, and subsequently creating a TME that supports tumor growth. Here we summarize recent studies about how DNA methylation affects tumorigenesis through regulating tumorassociated stromal components including fibroblasts and immune cells. We also discuss the potential for targeting DNA methylation for the treatment of cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Zhejiang University: Science B
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Cancer-associated fibroblasts
  • Cancer-associated immune cells
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetic therapy
  • Tumor microenvironment (TME)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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